I recently relocated to Sarasota from NY where I was using Optimum services where I didn’t have to pay a fee for using their modem, even though I also had my own. Not too long I was informed by my partner that Comcast charges a ridiculous modem rental fee of $10 per month (or $120 per year).
So I decided to replace the Xfinity Comcast-owned gateway, with my own, at the cost savings of $120 per year. Don’t let Comcast fool you – ANYONE can do this on their own. Luckily I’m an IT professional, so this DIY was easy.
Now, I am no longer paying the $10 per month rental fee for a Comcast modem – and this is how you can do the same.
Here is How to Replace a Comcast Modem with your Own, in 4 Easy Steps:
I will specifically detail how I replaced a Comcast modem with my own, but this should be applicable to other ISP’s as well.
1. Buy a Compatible Modem & Router or a Gateway to Replace your Comcast Modem
You do not NEED to buy a 2-in-1 gateway device, such as the one Comcast commonly supplies. You can go with a basic cable modem and pair it with a wireless router. In my case I got a great Black Friday deal on Amazon for a TP-Link TC-7610 modem together with a TP-Link AC1750 router for $124.00. That there pretty much covers that yearly cost for Xfinity’s modem fee which my partner has been paying for over 10 years.
There is a list of Comcast supported cable modems (See here), that are compatible with their network. Comcast recently upgraded their network to DOCSIS 3.0, but it is backwards compatible to previous generation DOCSIS model modems.
The tech I had spoke to previously had recommended the now obsolete Motorala SBG6580 gateway. After doing some research, however, I had noticed that this device had horrible reviews due to a number of problems working with Comcast’s network through firmware (or lack of) updates.
Instead, I opted to go for the TP-Link TC-7610 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. I paired it with the TP-Link Wireless-N router so I could get wifi throughout the condominium. Both were top sellers in the cable modem and router categories on Amazon and had outstanding reviews. I paid a total of $125, which means the devices will pay for themselves in less than a year! Then it’s free and clear until I move or get an upgrade.
2. Call Xfinity to Activate your Modem
After you get your new gateway or modem/router combo, you’ll have to call Comcast to activate your modem. Select “technical support” when you call in. When you are connected to a tech, tell them you bought your own new modem to replace your Comcast modem. In my case, I used the xfinity web page activation (https://activate-canary.comcast.net/Activate/comFlow). All that is required is your account and phone number.
Also, be mindful of the activation process. Even though the modem was paired successfully with Comcast (as per the instructions in the guide), I still had to manually activate via xfinity otherwise you won’t be able to access the web.
When connecting the router, the TP-Link AC1750, in my case, I had to set the WAN setting to Dynamic IP and so it was able to pull down the networking addresses from xfinity. Once that it done, you are good to go. Within 15 minutes, I was connected was getting 15Mbps download and 4Mbps upload – almost identical speeds I had from the Comcast gateway.
3. Connect your Devices to your Router
Once you have your modem and router running, you should secure your wifi network and connect your devices.
You can easily set your network name and your password on your router. You’ll then need to go back to each device (laptop, cell phones, tablet, etc.) to choose the new network and enter the password.
Each router will have slightly different instructions on how to do this, but all you need to know is that it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process. With the TP-Link AC1750, setup was a breeze. If you have a large house and require more coverage, get a TP-Link Wi-Fi Extender that will serve to boost and improve your wireless range.
4. Return your Comcast Modem!
Don’t forget to return your Comcast-supplied modem or gateway. You have around 45 days to return the modem before Comcast list the device as missing and will charged you for the device. Surprisingly, you will not be charged for the device in the meantime, you just need to make sure to return it within the 45 days.
Here is a list of Comcast service centers. We dropped ours off at the new Xfinity office at 5231 University Parkway here in Sarasota.
Make sure to get a receipt for your device return! I have heard of a few examples where the returnee did not do so and ran into problems. Any time you can keep a paper trail with Comcast, it’s usually a good thing, so you don’t end up with unwarranted fees later on (even when you own your own modem). Think smartly and invest wisely!
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